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16 October 2018
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Why we support Social Prescribing

Evergreen Nebulisers have always supported social prescribing. Whether it's singing with the Wigan Warblers or arts and crafts in the community the benefits are now well and truly recognised.

Dancing

Loneliness is bad for our health

A U.K. government survey says about 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in over a month. Chronically lonely people are often holding onto pessimistic and bleak predictions about the prospects of finding companionship, social connections and supportive relationships. A chronic lung condition and feeling short of breath can make you feel extremely lonely. Loneliness ravages our immune system, leaves us more vulnerable to cancer, affects our heart health, lowers our pain threshold, raises our blood pressure, tightens our arteries and puts us at greater risk of dementia. It is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and more tightly linked to our mortality than better-known lifestyle risks like obesity and lack of exercise. Lonely people are stressed most of the time.

That's why we have written often in this blog about how mental health is just as important as physical health especially when dealing with a long term lung condition. Now the government has recognised this and will invest nearly £4.5 million in programmes to refer patients to local voluntary and community services such as walking clubs, dance classes, gardening or arts activities. There will also be money for community projects, such as creating new community cafes, art spaces or gardens.

Lonely

Evidence shows that this approach can reduce demand on NHS services: a UK study found that after 3 to 4 months, 80% of patients referred to a social prescribing scheme had reduced their use of A&E, outpatient appointments and inpatient admissions. The schemes will focus on reaching out to people who may be socially isolated, for example because of mental health problems or learning difficulties. Providing support for those impacted by health inequalities, such as transgender people or people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and helping people with particularly complex needs who regularly access health services.

Reading Well

Reading Well is an emerging example of social prescribing which promotes the benefits of reading for health and wellbeing. The programme has two strands: Books on Prescription and Mood-boosting Books.

Books

Books on Prescription provide information about common mental health conditions such as eating disorders, postnatal depression, anxiety and mood swings. Packed with helpful advice and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with the conditions covered. People can be recommended a title by a health professional, or they can visit their local library and take a book out for free. The scheme is available in 98% of English library authorities. You can find more information here: https://reading-well.org.uk/books

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are all recommended by readers and reading groups. You can access a list of suggested titles by following this link.

Taking back control

There’s never been a better time to take control of your physical and mental health. The government will also partner with the Royal Mail in some areas to give postal workers a front-line role in tackling loneliness, and a number of big businesses have pledged to take further action to support their employees' health and social well being.

Chess

Interested? What tickles your fancy? Did you once dream of being Fred Astaire, Picasso, Shirley Bassey or even the next Dan Brown? Or do you harbour hopes of more simple pastimes like bird watching or simply strolling through the countryside. Why not clink on the links in the post and push start a new pastime. If you’re worried about your lung condition, we’ve got that covered. Portable nebulisers are now more discreet and efficient than they ever were. We have a range for you to choose from and a friendly voice waiting for your call if you need advice. Who knows what talent is hiding inside them waiting to emerge and you can have lots of fun making friends along the way.

You can find the full list of schemes here: Social Prescribing Schemes.

Photo credits: Ardian LumiSusan YinLuke StackpooleVal Vesa

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